DALE EARNHARDT JR., NO. 88 AMP ENERGY/ NATIONAL GUARD IMPALA SS: "I think we were too excited. We got going a little too soon. The race track was a little dirty and everybody was losing grip and there were a lot of wet spots out there. When you...
DALE EARNHARDT JR., NO. 88 AMP ENERGY/ NATIONAL GUARD IMPALA SS:
"I think we were too excited. We got going a little too soon. The race track was a little dirty and everybody was losing grip and there were a lot of wet spots out there. When you run over all them wet spots and do the best you can; everybody is just trying to ride. But once you slip up, sometimes you don't save enough. And Casey (Mears) got up there and into some water or dirt or something and ended up out of the groove. And way out of the groove is just terrible. It's like a dirt track up there. There was a lot of speedy dry and he just lost it. I didn't have anywhere I could go to miss him.
"We got a chance of getting it fixed and getting out there, but we're going to finish a lap down and it ain't going to be a good day. I think everybody is okay. They took some hard licks out there."
CASEY MEARS, NO. 5 KELLOGG'S/CARQUEST IMPALA SS:
"I got loose going in right about the time I was getting in. I slid up to the top and kinda had it saved there. Just touched the back of the car there in one and two and came back around there. Unfortunately it came back across the track and I saw just inside the medical center there that it clipped the back of Junior's car, which is really unfortunate, clipping a teammate.
"We just got loose in, we took a little wedge out there and got a little looser in. Also, the issue there that I kind of kept having and I don't know if anyone else was having the same, but as we crossed the bottom seam, getting in and out of one and three and four, if you weren't quite low enough, it was wet. The track is still seeping a good bit of water. I don't know if that is why I got loose in one but in three and four, it was still pretty wet. I had hit it a couple of times and in the center of one and two I hit that a couple of times. It is kind of hard to see. I don't know it that is what sent me around. I was trying to save it.
"The roll over was not that big of a deal, we were almost stopped. Then it looked like the No. 77 couldn't see because of the smoke, or couldn't stop, or just had to scatter because of what was going on in front of him, but, we were almost stopped and had it slowed down and then he run in to me. I can't say anything there, you never know what was happening or what he could see, but he hit me, I rolled over and was upside down.
"I saw the fire then and it seems like when you see fire it takes an eternity for someone to get there to help you out. Fortunately everybody is ok. I just hate that this early we are sitting here right now especially after where we were in Daytona so now we are pretty bad in the points, so we have to rally back here."
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S IMPALA SS:
"The car is driving great. I really have to give these guys a lot of credit at Hendrick Motorsports to give us this great driving race car. Both Jeff (Gordon) and I seem real strong. We're just trying to get some miles in. We saw some water on the track before the race started but things kind of mellowed out but it seems like NASCAR is looking at that a little more closely. But I, like Tony (Stewart) can't believe these West Coast fans for sticking it out."
FROM A DRIVER'S POINT, EXACTLY WHERE ON THE TRACK ARE YOU SEEING THE WEEPERS AND WHERE THERE IS A LITTLE BIT OF SEEPAGE COMING UP?
"Right under the first paving lane in both Turns 1 and 2, and in (Turns) 3 and 4. It's just weeping out of that seam a little bit. That was our problem we had on Friday when we were trying to get on track for qualifying and practice. And it took a while for it to go away. I know that the track and NASCAR are working hard on it. I know these fans are going to stick around and we'll race at some point and put on a good show."
WERE THERE ANY SURPRISES IN THE HANDLING OF THIS CAR IN THE FIRST 21 LAPS?
"You needed to stay in your lane. If you changed over these paving seams through the middle of the corner, you'd get in the water and it really upset the car. So you just kind of picked your lane early and just followed that around as though you were on the Interstate almost between the dotted lines and rolled around the turn.
"It is tough to see the wet spots, but when you know when you drive over the top of them. I noticed some stuff on both ends of the track before the race started. When we went to green, it seemed like it was ok, but I am sure on a restart, when everybody was getting up to speed, being aggressive and make positions up at the start of a run, when you crossed over those seams, you get in water and loose control of the car.
"The track looked better now when we came in to park on pit road than it did when we started the race. I think things are going in the right direction but it is unfortunate that we lost a bunch of cars in the process."
MARK MARTIN, NO. 8 PRINCIPAL FINANCIAL GROUP IMPALA SS:
"I'm loving it. We just need to run a while and get some rubber down. I think our car is going to get better the longer the race goes. We've got a lot of racing to do yet. I'm pretty encouraged. It's a struggle right now because the car is pretty free. But it's turning great. And I think over the long haul it'll pay off for us."
MARTIN TRUEX JR., NO. 1 BASS PRO SHOPS / TRACKER BOATS IMPALA SS:
ANY CONCERN ABOUT THE WATER SEEPING IN THE TURNS? Well it's bad when you hit it, I can tell you that. I hit it a few times. I had my hands full trying to stay out of that wreck. I'm not sure how I made it through. The car is pretty good. I'm real happy with it. It was real nice at the start of the race and got in the water and lost some spots. I feel like we're going to have something here as the track goes green and we get some rubber down and get the track cleaned up. It's just real hard right now. You really had to hit your marks. If you miss it by six or eight inches and get in that water it was ugly. We'll get the track fixed up and get back to racing."
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT IMPALA SS:
"I still have the front end on my car and I am a lot happier than I was in Martinsville that day. I hate that the weather has put us in this position, our DuPont Chevrolet is awesome and we are having a lot of fun out there.
"I am so proud of Steve Letarte (crew chief) and all the guys for giving me that good of a race car. So, we obviously didn't see the race stop or anything happen. I am glad Casey Mears and those guys are all right. It was pretty wild and crazy, I just saw it on the video there.
"It did seem like it was getting a little bit worse, the water seepage, so they are doing the right thing.
"It is the same issue we had on Friday, it is just a little bit more. We have had a lot of rain over the last 24 hours so I think it is a little bit worse right now. I thought after we started racing it might help as the track temperature went up, with the heat from the cars. But it started getting a little bit worse at both end of the tracks. Right now when we came in here, it was the best I have seen it all day. But if that is something that is going to reoccur, they have got to get it fixed.
"This car is a rocket ship today. You had to be real precise with your lines. Some guys are being a little cautious. You had to either run the bottom or the middle to go around the water. I think guys are holding back a little bit, especially my teammate back there (Jimmie Johnson).
"We are having fun. When you have a car that good, you want to go up there and lead and see what it has got. We will see what happens, but if it stays anything like this, we have something for them.
JEFF BURTON, NO. 31 AT&T IMPALA SS:
"I just feel bad for the race track. They can't catch a break this weekend. They are doing all they can, one and two looks pretty good, but three and four was wet when we first started. You kinda sorta run around it, but I think it has gotten worse as the day has gone on. With this red flag it seemed like it got worse and it got longer and bigger. They will keep diggin, they will get it, we will be here for a while, but they will get it."
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 SHELL-PENNZOIL IMPALA SS:
"We have had a pretty eventful day so far. We got a bunch of trash on the grill there and our Shell-Pennzoil was really, really fast, so we just had to come in and pit right there.
"The race track really wasn't ready to start with. There was water running out of the track down in three and four, I think there were a lot of us telling them that and it is worse now. Just a little bit wet."
-credit: gm racing